Monday, June 24, 2013

The Songs of my Life

I've been feeling nostalgic lately, probably because my 30th birthday is fast approaching. I've been thinking for the past year or so that I just don't relate to music the way I used to, probably because I'm in a happy, committed relationship and that got me to thinking about all of the songs that I've said "OMG! THIS IS MY SONG" to in my life. So here they are.

Music has always been a huge part of my life. I started violin when I was around seven and switched to viola at thirteen. In third grade, I started the French Horn so that I could play in the band as our school system did not have an orchestra. I played both of my instruments in the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestras for the majority of my adolescence. Mom played violin all of her life and both she and my Dad sang in the choir and played guitar. Most of the music I knew as a child was classical and the "oldies" that Mom and Dad played (Loggins & Messina, Simon & Garfunkel, John Denver, etc). One of the earliest songs that I remember was "Darcy Farrow" by John Denver (we always just called it the sad song). We always asked Mom to sing this one because she couldn't sing it without crying and I guess we were jerks and liked to make Mom cry.

When I was 10, Dad started listening to country and I fell in love with "Wild One" by Faith Hill. I think it was with this song that I started relating music (more specifically, lyrics) to my life. My parents would be the first to tell you I was a "spirited" child and "Wild One" just spoke to me. Well a couple years later, Dad stopped listening to country but I had fallen in love with it. I rarely told anyone that I listened to country for many years because it wasn't "cool". Telling people that I listened to classical was equally as weird but I couldn't bring myself to say I liked pop groups like N'Sync or the Backstreet Boys. I couldn't relate to them at all. I was kind of a weird kid, I liked to sew and spin wool on my spinning wheel and I played with dolls and my bazillion pets/ farm animals. I couldn't have cared less about the opposite gender until the summer before I started high school when I realized that the lifeguard at the swimming lake was totally hot and spent the summer pining after him.

There were many songs that defined my high school years. One of the first was "Don't Laugh at Me" by Mark Wills. Like I said, I didn't fit in with any of the typical groups at school. I was a loner, kind of a dork and a reasonably good student. I hated being made fun of but not enough to change because I'm stubborn as hell. Things started to pick up for me in my junior year when my sister started HS. Sarah and I had always been close and while she was weird in her own ways, she wasn't an introvert like me and I was already friends with her bestie Vanessa, the most extroverted person I know. So together we made friends with two other girls and formed the Quinto. We went on all kinds of crazy adventures together, well, as crazy as we could get in small town Ohio. One of our favorite things to do was drive out to Wellington under the cover of darkness and run through cornfields, clothing optional. Don't ask me why, I honestly couldn't tell you, but it was fun at the time. One time we were trying to get to the outlet mall in Lodi and ended up in Homerville aka the middle of nowhere Ohio. Since I was the oldest in the group I was usually the one driving, and so I chose the music. It always seemed like as soon as Vanessa got in the car "Come On Over" by Shania Twain would come on the radio and we would roll all the windows down and scream it at the top of our lungs. Also on the playlist was "Goodbye, Earl" by the Dixie Chicks, because songs about women murdering their abusive husbands are totally appropriate for teenage girls to yell while driving down Center Ridge Road.

Around this time, I also joined 4-H and met my first boyfriend. I remember laying in my tent at the fair listening to Rascal Flatts self titled album on a loop and feeling giddy in love. I also remember crying my eyes out several months later when we broke up and the songs that got me through it- "Why They Call it Falling" by Lee Ann Womack and "Without You" by the Dixie Chicks.

One of the best decisions I made in HS was joining Drama Club. It wasn't because I had any big plans of being a famous actress or anything like that. I don't really even know what inspired me to try out for that first play but in drama, I found people who were willing to accept me for me, which I guess is a little ironic since acting is all about pretending to be someone else. Maybe it was because we were all a little weird or maybe because we had a great leader as our Cap'n, whatever it was- it worked for me. I became comfortable with who I was and was not. My songs at this time were "Who I Am" by Jessica Andrews, "Dare to Dream" by Jo Dee Messina and "Born to Fly" by Sara Evans.

Of course I have my story of unrequited love, who doesn't? I was obsessed with this one guy for probably a two years. At the time, it just seemed like the timing never worked out. I played "Complicated" by Carolyn Dawn Johnson like it was my theme song. Looking back I realize that it was probably because he wasn't really in to me. Also in hindsight, I'm sure glad it didn't work out- he turned into an emotionally abusive ass.

Then in my senior year a series of things happened that let me know who my real friends and supporters were. I was a big fan of "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett during this time. Side story- I first heard "Bad Reputation" while watching "10 Things I Hate About You", the movie in which I developed a life long obsession (his life anyway) with Heath Ledger. As bad as things were for me then, it has certainly shaped the person that I am today and though I can't say I'm happy that it happened, I am happy for the things I learned because of it. By the end of my senior year there was only one song playing in my heart "Ready to Run" by the Dixie Chicks.

So I ran away to college, escaped from my horrible parents and my annoying siblings and my small hometown and.... wait what? It didn't take long for me to realize how silly all of that sounded. I wasn't one of those girls who got to college and went crazy. My parents had never really tried to control my life, so it wasn't like I was suddenly allowed to do all the things I hadn't been allowed to before. Funnily enough, I went to college to get an education. I actually managed to come out of my shell enough to make friends with some of my dorm-mates (either that or they were just persistent enough to not let me hermit myself). I dated some, but mostly I went to class, did homework and went to work. It while we were in college that Sarah and I discovered Brigid's Cross, and Irish festivals in general. We followed the festivals all summer and fall, traveling as far away as Indianapolis but mostly staying in the Cleveland area. One of my favorite songs, sung by Brigid's Cross but originally done by Tommy Sands was "There Were Roses". The song is about Northern Ireland and the religious conflicts but I loved the lyrics "An eye for an eye, was all that filled their minds, and another eye for another eye til everyone is blind". I try to use this philosophy when I think about how I am treating others and remember that revenge is not the answer. In our festival years, I started dabbling with the bagpipes, because I didn't play enough instruments yet.

The summer after my "senior" year of college (I had to do one extra semester) my parents sent me out to Germany for two weeks to visit with my brother and tour the country. I did all that, and had a great time. I also had a one night stand with my (at that time, future) husband. Apparently, we both really sucked at one night stands. We stayed in touch and in September that year, I decided to fly out to Germany for the long weekend to go to Oktoberfest because I was about to graduate college and I hadn't done a single silly, irresponsible thing the entire time I had been there. My Zune was playing "You Will Be Mine" by Faith Hill. Well, Jeff got out of the Army that October and moved back to his hometown, conveniently only 2 hours from mine. When I graduated and moved back home that December, we started casually dating. We had our ups and downs and one time after he stood me up, I told him to fuck off and we broke up for awhile and "saw" other people. One song that sticks in my mind from this time was "Linger" by the Cranberries.

That winter, the company I was working for relocated it's R&D facilities to Nashville, TN. It was a major opportunity for me to move from temp to salaried chemist and though I didn't want to, I decided to make the move. At some point, Jeff and I has started talking again and I asked him if he wanted to move to Nashville with me. For some reason, he said yes and we shacked up in Tennessee. For the next year and half life was just like "This Everyday Love" by Rascal Flatts. We got engaged and then Jeff found out he was being recalled to the Army from the IRR. To avoid being sent to Iraq as "needs of the Army" he took a job with an independent contractor, but he still had to go back to Iraq. Just before he deployed, I got knocked up. During the next year, Carrie Underwood's "So Small" became my anthem. Well Makayla was born November 22, 2008 and she turned out to be the "best mistake I ever made" (Kevin Fowler) and I'm so thankful for her, even when she makes me crazy because she's a carbon copy of me. Jeff and I finally got hitched October 10, 2010. Our first dance song was "Lullaby" by the Dixie Chicks. Even though Jeff has a hatred for country in general and the Dixie Chicks in particular he let me pick the song I knew was perfect for us. I did compromise and allow our entrance to the reception to be the Imperial Death March.

Which brings us to today (minus another year of deployment in Afghanistan). We've been struggling with infertility for a long time now and conveniently, the Dixie Chicks sing a song for that too "So Hard" but most of the time I'd say we've got a good thing here. "When You Got A Good Thing" by Lady Antebellum.

Well I guess I was wrong. I do still relate to music.